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The Race to the White House

Bomb Squad to Work Like Dogs at the GOP Convention

August 18, 2004|From Newsday

NEW YORK — Scores of bomb-sniffing dogs belonging to city, state and federal agencies will be working overtime scouting for explosives at high-profile locales during the Republican National Convention.

"The name of the game is don't put them together," said William Morange, director of security of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, whose 18 dogs are expected to comb Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal and trains serving the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North.

Morange's advice is rooted in personal experience. While head of the New York Police Department's special operations unit a few years back, he tried assembling the squad's 36 canines to pose for a photo.

"I wound up taking a picture with three of them because they were all biting one another on the head, on the rear end, on the tail," Morange said. "It was like school kids."

On Tuesday, Casey and Drister, two MTA German shepherds patrolling Penn Station, were well-behaved, even sedate, as they rested on the tile floor amid the bustle of commuters.

When Casey's handler commanded her to search a crate of boxes, she transformed into a different dog. The feisty 2-year-old lunged into the shrink-wrap, sniffing for explosives but finding none. "They don't realize that it can kill them; they're just doing it to please you," said Casey's handler, who did not want her name printed.

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